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Korhonen, Riku

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Helsingin Sanomat - Finland | 02/02/2011

Riku Korhonen on the inability to save face

Every now and then in life it becomes necessary to save face, writes Riku Korhonen in the liberal daily Helsingin Sanomat. Finns in particular could avoid getting into fights if they were able to give a quicker verbal response to insults: "The French talk about l'esprit d'escalier, which refers to the clever retort you only come up with after the event. ... Sometimes it seems as if the problem of violence in Finland is all down to this delayed reaction. We never find the right words when we need them and so let our fists do the talking by the sausage stand at night. Fighting is the sequel to silence. Is this a job for Finnish teachers? In school we are taught to be obedient and humble in our use of language, which are qualities our people have in ample supply at birth. At least part of the time that is dedicated to comma rules and declination could be used to practise hitting back in our beautiful mother tongue. If you can save your own face, there's no need to mess up other people's."

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